The reports are very informative, but that's only part of the story in terms of a 'scorecard' on the well-being of Canadians.
In addition to economic indices, there are also social indices.
This week, the Broadbent Institute has released report on just that — by compiling statistics on life expectancy, student achievement, infant mortality, homicides, incarceration, teenage pregnancy, trust in others, social mobility, mental health and obesity, they've created provincial rankings of what they call social well-being.
|Social well-being ranking||% *|
|Prince Edward Island||3||87|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||6||97|
* Lower % = better performance
"Overall, the provinces share relatively similar well-being outcomes, with the exception of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, which perform poorly compared to the other provinces," notes the report.
"These provinces’ poor performances are likely largely due to the fact that they have much higher than average Aboriginal populations; while Aboriginal people account for 4 per cent of the total Canadian population, they represent 15 per cent of Manitoba and Saskatchewan’s populations.
"The incarceration rate for Aboriginal persons is about ten times higher than the rate for non-Aboriginals, the homicide rate is seven times higher, and the teen pregnancy rate is up to six times higher. The infant mortality rate among Aboriginal groups ranges from about 1.7 to 4 times the rate for non-Aboriginals."
The other interesting thing about the study is that the cumulative scores are very similar despite the fact that there is a wide variance in income and income inequality between the provinces.
Andrew Jackson, a Senior Policy Adviser with the Broadbent Institute, attributes that to Canada's federal equalization program.
"Even though income per person differs a lot between the provinces, social spending per person is a lot narrower across the provinces," he told Yahoo! Canada News,
Jackson says that's not the case in the United States citing a 2010 study that suggested that social well-being varies by state depending on the level of income inequality.
While most provinces have a similar overall score, there are some stark differences in some of the categories.
For example, average math and literacy scores are almost 10 per cent higher in Quebec than they are in PEI; homicide rates are six times higher in Manitoba than in PEI; and incarceration rates are nearly four times higher in Manitoba than they are in Nova Scotia.
Another interesting statistic is the issue about trust: 68 per cent of Prince Edward Islanders believe "people can be trusted" compared to only 35 per cent in the province of Quebec.
The full study, written by Jennifer Mason can be seen here.
(Photos and graphs courtesy of the Broadbent Institute)
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